Date of Award

Summer 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Educational Leadership

Committee Director

William A. Owings

Committee Member

Steve Myran

Committee Member

John Ritz


The issue surrounding the effect of education funding using state per pupil index spending has been the subject of research studies in connection with various student outcomes since the advent of the Coleman report in 1966. Education is indeed an investment as it alleviates a myriad of social issues, but it needs to be made wisely. Included among social concerns is incarceration. Adults in prison show a disproportionate amount of illiteracy and most lack a high school education. An analysis of each state's educational fiscal effort, viewed as a ratio of gross per capita state product and per pupil index spending, when correlated with juvenile incarceration rates, sheds light on the association between funding and incarceration.

This study examined each state's and the District of Columbia's educational fiscal effort and its impact on state juvenile incarceration rates. Using a linear regression, bivariate correlation, and time-lagged correlation design, generalized estimating equation (GEE), state fiscal effort and state juvenile incarceration rates were examined over a 25 year time period, to include 5, 10, 15, and 20 year lag analysis to account for delays in effect. A statistically significant inverse association between state educational fiscal effort and state juvenile incarceration rates was found using a GEE with raw data at a 5-year time lag across the United States. Statistically significant associations were found using Pearson's Product Moment analysis in 10 states as well.